How Mino is using NFTs to promote monster game Dimensionals

Colin Campbell, Wednesday, March 15th, 2023 11:58 am

In the current Web3 fever, a Pokemon-style browser game with an NFT business model feels like an inevitability. Mino Games’ “first major crypto project”, Dimensionals, is a free-to-play RPG about gathering a deck of “lovable, collectible characters”.

Some of the monsters that players collect (or, in the crypto-adjacent language of the day – “mint”) will be rare, and they will be tradeable, not just for other monsters, but for revenue. In other words, they are NFTs. Currently, those NFTs are being given away via promotional splurges on social media networks.

Mino recently raised a $15 million investment bundle, led by Standard Crypto. Game industry warhorses Bing Gordon and Don Mattrick were also announced as advisors.

Gordon, a storied shaper of Electronic Arts’ legendary rise, is currently a partner at Silicon Valley investment house KPCB. Mattrick was also a leading exec at EA, followed by stints as boss of Microsoft’s gaming division, and of Zynga.

Mino was founded back in 2011. Off the back of a $2 million seed fund, the company launched a series of successful collectible RPGs for mobile, including MiniMonsters, Cat Game, and Dog Game.

The company states that “blockchain technology is unlocking a new era for gamers” and that it is “developing immersive worlds where players come to create, collect, curate, compete, and own”.

Recent Tweets

There’s no release date for Dimensionals, as yet, but the game’s NFTs and in-game assets are already being used to gather interest. Pre-launch promotions – including giveaways and contests – have helped to boost social media followers. Dimensionals’ Twitter account has 261K followers, with recent tweets always attracting more than 100K views.

“We have an incredibly active community,” says Mino CEO Sasha MacKinnon. “A lot of that is because we can reward and engage the community in ways we couldn’t before.”

Using NFTs as primarily promotional items seems to be core to Mino’s plan. “So we might run a big event where we’ll give away a limited amount of free NFTs,” explains MacKinnon. “There will be much more participation and sharing of that particular event because people can enter sweepstakes to get these valuable, scarce in-game items.”

MacKinnon says the full plan for how NFTs will work in Dimensionals is still being worked through, but one option is that they are not actually sold to players. “If we never charge for an NFT, I won’t be unhappy. I think all the revenue can just happen through traditional free-to-play [business models] or even through merchandising.”

“Gaming’s distribution model is fundamentally changing, and I don’t think everyone has caught onto that,” he says. “In Web2, you need to spend advertising money with Google or Apple to acquire users. Instead of giving money to these platforms, Web3 enables us to give away really valuable in-game items. So you’re acquiring users directly by giving them value.”

Upfront community

He adds: “Instead of advertising through ad networks, we can connect directly with our core fans on social media and reward them with free but rare in-game items. We can build a deep relationship with our community upfront without spending 50 percent of our revenue on ads.”

Offering up in-game items as promotional fodder is nothing new. But Web3’s much-vaunted ability to reward players financially adds an extra dimension, according to MacKinnon. “Players are getting a free sweepstakes entry to get something that they can immediately use in the game, and that is valuable because it helps you compete. But it’s also something that has literal value. You could go and sell it immediately for thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, of dollars.”

Of course, the company is monetizing its own promotional strategy of handing out freebies. Mino Games receives a royalty every time an NFT is sold from one player to another.

MacKinnon says that bringing in trailblazers like Gordon and Mattrick is a demonstration that the strategy has legs. “Bing has been at the forefront of every major change in gaming,” he says. “He invented the expansion pack, the in-app purchase, and founded Zynga. Don’s experience both at Xbox and Zynga helped propel platforms and titles forward and being part of our advisory board helps us keep our focus strategic and profitable as we learn from his experiences.

“Having industry legends like Bing and Don as advisors further legitimizes our move in the gaming space. It guarantees Dimensionals will be a game changer. “

You can find out more about Mino Games and Dimensionals here.

Colin Campbell

Colin Campbell has been reporting on the gaming industry for more than three decades, including for Polygon, IGN, The Guardian, Next Generation, and The Economist. © 2024 | All Rights Reserved.